September 2010

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

W.W. Norton & Company

  • 500 Fifth Avenue
  • New York , NY

212.354.5500

abc The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains xyz , by Nicholas Carr, is of course available as an e–book, but you might want to read this one in hardcopy. Backing up his eloquent argument with scientific research, Carr paints a disturbing picture of our decreasing IQs, our loss of verbal skills, our inability to concentrate, and our poor memory retention, which is all seemingly tied to our use of electronic media.

Carr is not suggesting that we toss out our computers and go back to a simpler time. Even the most academic among us are hooked on the Internet and mobile devices and e–readers. The new technology isn’t going anywhere, nor should it. It is obviously useful and beneficial. But Carr’s thorough review of how this new media is impacting our brains will give you pause, and might just make you a more intelligent, focused consumer of electronic media. Knowing that your short–term memory can’t deal with the influx of data hurled at you from your RSS feed, your email, and your social networking sites all at once, might empower you to make decisions about what to focus on. When you truly need to absorb an article, for example, you might find yourself printing it out, or at least shutting down your email long enough to power through it. After reading this book, you might just find yourself internalizing Carr’s warning: “We shouldn'’t allow the glories of technology to blind our inner watchdog to the possibility that we’ve numbed an essential part of our self.”

abc The Shallows xyz is a fascinating read, not just for luddites and people old enough to remember a time before computers. This book is highly recommended for those who are thoroughly addicted to their electronic media – if they can disconnect long enough to read it.

Reviewer: Robin Dodge, FIDM Library Staff Member